The kidneys filter your blood by removing waste and excess fluid from your body. This waste is sent to the bladder to be removed when you urinate.
Dialysis performs the function of the kidneys if they have failed. According to the National Kidney Foundation, end-stage renal failure occurs when the kidneys are functioning with only 10 to 15 percent of their normal function.
Dialysis is a treatment that filters and purifies the blood using a machine. This helps keep your fluids and electrolytes in balance when the kidneys cannot do their job.
Types of dialysis
What is hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis. This process uses an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) to remove waste and excess fluid from the blood. Blood is removed from the body and filtered through the artificial kidney. The filtered blood is returned to the body with the help of a dialysis machine.
Hemodialysis risks include:
- low blood pressure
- Anemia or not having enough red blood cells
- muscle cramps
- difficulty to sleep
- high levels of potassium in the blood
- pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane around the heart
- bacteremia or infection of the bloodstream
- irregular heartbeat
- sudden cardiac death, the leading cause of death in people undergoing dialysis
What is the peritoneal ?
Peritoneal dialysis involves surgery to implant a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter in your abdomen. The catheter helps filter your blood through the peritoneum, a membrane in your abdomen. During treatment, a special fluid called dialysate flows into the peritoneum. Dialysate absorbs waste. Once the dialysate removes waste from the bloodstream, it drains from your abdomen.
Peritoneal dialysis is associated with an increased risk of infections at or around the catheter site in the abdominal cavity. For example, after implantation of the catheter, a person may experience peritonitis. Peritonitis is an infection of the membrane that lines the abdominal wall.
Other risks include:
- abdominal muscle weakening
- high blood sugar level due to dialysate dextrose
- weight gain
- stomach ache
Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT)
What is CRRT
This therapy is used primarily in the intensive care unit for people with acute kidney failure. It’s also known as hemofiltration. A machine passes the blood through tubing. A filter then removes waste products and water. The blood is returned to the body, along with replacement fluid. This procedure is performed 12 to 24 hours a day, generally every day.
The risks associated with CRRT include:
- low blood pressure
- electrolyte disturbances
- delayed renal recovery
- weakening of bones
Preparation for dialysis?
Before your first dialysis treatment, your doctor will surgically implant a tube or device to gain access to your bloodstream. This is typically a quick operation. You should be able to return home the same day.
It’s best to wear comfortable clothing during your dialysis treatments. Also follow your doctor’s instructions. These may include fasting for a certain amount of time before the treatment.